Log in

No account? Create an account
31 March 2011 @ 02:44 pm
The Home Stretch  
I leave tonight at 01.50 local time, arriving in Cincinnati at 13.55 US EDT (or 23.25 India time), for a total of 21 hours and 35 minutes in transit. Add the time spent getting to the airport and the probable time in immigration and customs and it'll total close to 24 hours. When I get back, ladyat and I are going straight from Cincy to Indy for tonight's Pacers game, at which I will eat MEAT.

That's not to say I haven't enjoyed the food here. With the exception of Monday night (when I catered to my 24 hours of traveler's belly by having a grilled ham sandwich and tomato soup), I've eaten local for every meal but breakfast. On Tuesday I even broke out of the company cafeteria and joined a couple of co-workers going to a local eatery, which was good as well. Just like ladyat could probably eat sushi for every meal, I could probably eat Indian food for every meal.

However, because I have been very circumspect and eaten at known places, it has gotten a little monotonous eating from the same menu for 2 weeks. Additionally, in this area of India, they don't tend to eat some of the things I really like (spinach, for instance) - if I come back I intend to branch out a little more and try to find the other food.

If I come back, I hope to feel a little more comfortable about going other places. Unfortunately, where my company (and therefore my hotel) are located is outside of easy access to the city, and there's nowhere with much worth trying to get to in the evenings without hiring a driver. The office is too far from the hotel to walk, so I didn't get out on the street except in the major shopping district on the weekend. I didn't get many pictures for that reason - the car moved much too quickly (there's no such thing as traffic "stop" here, really) to get good shots out the window, and I was mostly trying to get places on a time schedule so I didn't have a chance to ask the driver to stop.

When coming back to the hotel from a meeting at the other (as opposed to the other other) company office, the driver took me way out and around the city to avoid what I knew would be crushing traffic on the main road through Bangalore. That gave me my first look at something approaching rural villages.

The thing that bothered me - and maybe it shouldn't, I don't know - wasn't that things were "dirty". I don't think they were particularly so - after all, I've been to developing countries before, and there's a difference between a lack of obsession with keeping the local environment away from pristine houses/lawns and unhygienic filth; I noticed little of the latter from the insulated environment of my car (excepting, perhaps, the ubiquitous "no urine here" sign on walls and the other walls where obviously there must not have been such a sign based on the activity...) No, the disconcerting thing was the sheer amount of litter - paper remnants, discarded wrappings and bags, whatever could be tossed out. This was not just the case in the built up areas, where perhaps you would expect it (especially in vacant lots or building sites), but in the villages. It was mixed into the piles of dirt, meaning there were layers that someday might reach archaeological significance. It was all along the roads, not just a plastic bag here or there but trails of it.

One thinks that, back when everything was wrapped in palm or banana leaves or in its original rind, discarding "packaging" was good for the environment (and the foraging animals). Now, not so much. When you are scratching for existence, piles of litter are the least of your concerns.

It strikes me, though, that this may simply be a remnant of years of monsoon rains and flooding. All of this could very well have started in one place and been carried to these out-of-the-flow places to come to rest. Daily life being what it is, cleaning it up isn't a priority.

It has been an educational and interesting experience, and sometimes (watching cricket in the packed-to-the-gills company cafeteria dining room) even fun. I'll be better prepared next trip, with a better understanding of how things work so that will open the door for completely different mistakes...
Current Mood: rejuvenatedanticipating
JoEllynjoecoustic on March 31st, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
Safe travels! :)
fabricdragonfabricdragon on March 31st, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
safe travels!
and if you ever happen to bring home an extra sari.. heh...
markbernsteinmarkbernstein on March 31st, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
The litter has already caused problems. Back in 2008, NPR reported this story.

Welcome home!